Graffiti was visible outside King Hall on the midtown campus in January. The city’s agreement with a Dallas-based partnership to redevelop the campus broke down in part because of the campus’s deterioration.

The city of Santa Fe is poised to receive about $5 million from the state Legislature for several capital projects, including $1 million to address infrastructure needs at the fading midtown campus.

Public Works Director Regina Wheeler said the city intends to spend the funds, if they are approved by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, improving roads and pedestrian facilities at the 64-acre former college campus.

Wheeler also said the city might replace some of the gas lines on the property and noted some buildings at the site need to be demolished.

Infrastructure concerns topped the list of reasons the former master developer of the property, KDC Real Estate Development & Investments/Cienda Partners, asked the city in January to agree to a mutual termination of its exclusive negotiation agreement.

In a letter to Mayor Alan Webber and the City Council, the Dallas-based firm suggested multiple midtown campus buildings were deteriorating and would need to be razed.

KDC/Cienda said infrastructure at the site was “incomplete” and “obsolete” and would require $30 million to replace.

The firm also noted economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wheeler said the main goal is to address issues at the midtown property that would aid in the first phase of a massive redevelopment.

“We’re going to, of course, get governing body approval and guidance,” Wheeler said. “They are leading us through the midtown project.”

The funding relies on the governor signing House Bill 285, which includes about $518 million for capital projects across New Mexico’s 33 counties.

State projects received the most at $111 million.

It’s not a slam dunk.

In March 2020, Lujan Grisham vetoed $110 million in capital outlay projects approved by lawmakers, rerouting the funding to state reserves due to concerns about the possibility of a drop in state revenue from the effects of the pandemic and fluctuating oil prices.

“It’s never done until it’s done,” Wheeler said.

The 17,000-square-foot Southside Teen Center would receive the lion’s share of the city’s potential funding at $1.8 million. In late February, the state released $3.9 million approved last year for the project. Lawmakers kicked in an addition $1.8 million in the latest bill.

The project will rise across the street from the Southside Branch Library and will provide a gym, arts spaces, a dance area and outdoor recreation space. A groundbreaking is expected in fall, with an opening planned in late 2022.

Parks in general would receive $1 million.

Wheeler said the city is still discussing how to use the funds, but it plans to spend around $300,000 on resurfacing tennis courts across the city and expanding a few to accommodate pickleball players.

Wheeler said the city intends to create its first pickleball courts at the Fort Marcy Recreation Complex this summer.

“They play it on the tennis courts, but the lines are a little different,” Wheeler said. “It’s all the rage. We hear about it constantly.”

In addition, Wheeler said the city intends to invest in irrigation upgrades at various parks.

“Water is a big deal right now,” Wheeler said. “The drought year really showed how close to the edge we really are.”

The city intends to spend $1.23 million on infrastructure improvements at heavily trafficked pedestrian areas.

According to the bill, the city plans to spend $300,000 on a trail at Tierra Contenta and $275,000 on improvements to Paseo de las Vistas.

Pedestrian, drainage and bicycle infrastructure upgrades along St. Michael’s Drive, Siringo Road and Governor Miles Road would receive $650,000 between the two projects.

(4) comments

Grace Trujillo

Wow!!! I can't believe what the City of Santa Fe considers priority infrastructure! The old Santa Fe College Campus is not a priority. Our streets and parks are. Some of the buildings at the old College of Santa Fe haven't been used in centuries and should be knocked down. The space could be used as an addition to shopping malls or something that will make the city money. Does the old campus really make revenue for the city. Not all buildings just part!!

Stefanie Beninato

So the city intends to spend money to remediate the conditions at midtown? Has it sought public input on how to spend this $5 million? I have been on campus recently and the paper should be using photos of the southside of the campus--it is bleak beyond compare. As far as the Teen Center opening in a year good luck with that! Salvaldor Perez has been closed since Dec 2017--it was scheduled to reopen in May, July, Oct and Nov of 2020. Now the interim head of rec says it will reopen this summer THREE and a HALF YEARS later--just in time for Ft Marcy to need yet another reroof--I believe its second in three years...With Wheeler as head of public works, it is "never done until it is done" to quote her.

Dan Frazier

I am glad this article mentions pedestrian improvements, and Siringo. I was at the intersection of Siringo and St. Francis and noticing the lack of sidewalks despite a wide dirt trail suggesting lots of foot traffic. The crossing itself is very hazardous for pedestrians as vehicles speed around the corner from St. Francis. To make matters worse, the view of oncoming traffic is blocked by overgrown vegetation.

Katherine Martinez

As far as the midtown campus, I agree with KDC Development, this is a bleak prospect. You have a mish mash, patchwork quilt of outdated buildings next to semi-modern buildings, next to 1940’s army barracks. Big problem.

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